June 07, 2018
When Kim Kardashian West learned that Alice Marie Johnson -- a nonviolent drug offender serving a life sentence -- would be freed, she broke the news to her in a tearful phone call.

"I was like 'you're going home,' " Kardashian said Thursday, recalling the conversation with Johnson.
Johnson, 63, who had spent a third of her life in prison, screamed.
"We cried, maybe, on the phone for like three minutes straight," an emotional Kardashian told CNN's Van Jones, recounting her advocacy for Johnson, and her role in President Donald Trump's decision to grant Johnson clemency on Wednesday. "Everyone was just crying,"
It was a sweet ending to the mission Kardashian said she joined after seeing a story by chance about Johnson's case on her Twitter feed about seven months ago.
Asked by Jones what grabbed her attention about Johnson's case, Kardashian said she "felt this connection" to Johnson when she learned about her story.
"She lost her longtime job, got a divorce, her son died," she said. "Everything was going so bad for her, and she got desperate."
Kardashian said: "I felt like she's a good person. You can see that in her."
So, the reality TV star set out to try to help.
She called Ivanka Trump to plead Johnson's case and also asked her for a meeting with her father, Kardashian said.
"I know that you have compassion for women like this," she recalled telling Ivanka Trump.
"She immediately felt it," Kardashian said of Ivanka Trump.
The President's daughter connected Kardashian with her husband, Jared Kushner, who took an interest in Johnson's case, according to Kardashian.
Daily phone calls with the White House followed. But Kardashian didn't want to take too much credit for Johnson's release and acknowledged the advocacy of others who were trying to help Johnson throughout the years.
"I did what I knew how to do," she said.
"Everyone has brought attention to this case and I just happened to see it on Twitter. So, I do want to give credit where credit is due to everyone that's been working so hard on this for so long for her."

Oval Office meeting with the President
That meeting in the Oval Office took place last week -- on Johnson's birthday. It was a sign, the right day to make her plea, Kardashian thought.
And Kardashian said she tried to use her platform to help those who had been working on the case.
Kardashian, who had met Trump several times before he became President, said he "felt it. He was compassionate. He was sympathetic to her."
She kept the focus on Johnson during the meeting, she said.
"I was very focused. I knew that if I have this meeting, I can't go in there and talk about all the policies that I don't agree with," she said.
Kardashian said she "knew there was going to be tons of backlash," for taking the meeting with the President.
"I knew people wouldn't understand it. And at that point, I had to make the decision that this was bigger than me," she said.
The President cited Johnson's good behavior and rehabilitation when he commuted her sentence after meeting with Kardashian.
Kardashian said Trump shared the news that he granted Johnson's freedom in a phone call to the reality star.
He said he had investigated the case, speaking to several people, including Johnson's warden, and everyone had "a unanimous feeling of Alice, that she will live a great life," Kardashian said.
"When he said he has the papers in front of him and he's signing it ... my heart was so full," Kardashian said.
An emotional Johnson marveled at her freedom when she left an Alabama prison after 21 years behind bars, grateful for a second chance and craving seafood.
Johnson was convicted in 1996 of conspiracy to possess cocaine and attempted possession of cocaine. At the time, Johnson was seven months pregnant, according to her daughter, Catina Scales.
President Barack Obama did not intervene in Johnson's case during his eight years in office because the Justice Department recommended denying Johnson's request for commutation. Three requests were made but never reached Obama's desk because he followed the Justice Department's recommendations, a senior Obama administration official told CNN.
"I told Alice, 'I'm never going to give up. So, I'll do what I have to do to ... get you out or make this happen if I have the power to do that,' " Kardashian said.
There are many more people in Johnson's situation; their paths just crossed by chance, Kardashian said.
"But it doesn't mean, we're going to stop here," she said.
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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